Anji is holding on to big secrets. When she begins to spiral into a scary depression, she realizes she will need to do something drastic to bring herself out of it. With the help of a guidance counselor at school, Anji starts working through what, exactly, led her to the desperate feelings she's now drowning in. She joins a group of other girls who've been through experiences of sexual assault and violence, and learns to face her secrets with the help of the girls and a caring group leader. Together, they help one another heal old wounds through art, creativity, mobilizing for social justice, and learning to trust again.
This straightforward and ultimately reassuring novel reads like an older Sikh version of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and will fill a niche in any school or library.
Debut novelist Meminger raises complex questions of identity, but avoids moralizing or spelling out answers for readers, who will likely be hooked as Samar takes a second look at her relationships, boyfriend, friends and family, while seeking a better understanding of herself.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
Meminger's debut book is a beautiful and sensitive portrait of a young woman's journey from self-absorbed naivete to selfless, unified awareness.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
With a few simple sentences, Meminger reveals the complexity of religious observance, how personal it is, with shades of gray. A lesser book would have turned this into a didactic message.
What made Jazz in Love most enjoyable . . . was the narration, which reminded me a bit of Meg Cabot both in its humor and how Jazz remained endearing even when you know she’s making a mistake.
Meminger offers a fascinating window into Punjabi-American lives that also weaves in cultural information seamlessly...Readers who share the cultural background of the characters will recognize the generational divide between traditional parents and children who have adopted the ways of the new country, as well as the diverse experiences of an Indian diaspora that includes England and the Caribbean.
Where Meminger succeeds is...in her characters, who shatter every norm in the book and then some, and are kickass and lovable besides. Meminger knows what makes teen girls tick, and she makes us believe it every step of the way.
CANADIAN CHILDREN'S BOOK NEWS:
Neesha Meminger’s third novel, Into the Wise Dark, is rich in languid tones and emotional fragility, particularly when she’s describing Pammi’s connection to Zanum and her boyfriend Dhan. Indeed, it is one of the best sex scenes I’ve read in a long time, describing the passion, fear, and all-encompassing joy of first love, without the clichés... [T]he novel’s lyrical rhythms give the reader a sense of history, ancient Goddess spirituality and the emotional turmoil of Pammi’s experience. Inspired by South Asian mysticism and history...this rich tapestry of experience [shows] the multicultural reality of our modern world.
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